UK needs to move away from private vehicle ownership, DfT says

Shared mobility must become “the norm” say ministers as they outlined support for a system “fit for the future”

Shared mobility must become “the norm” and favoured over private vehicle ownership, transport minister Trudy Harrison has said.

Speaking at the Collaborative Mobility UK transport conference, the minister said the country needs to move away from “20th century thinking centred around private vehicle ownership” and introduce “greater flexibility, with personal choice and low carbon shared transport”.

She said it was “staggering” almost two-thirds of trips were conducted by lone drivers.

Ms Harrison also added the UK was now at a “tipping point” where shared transport would soon be a “realistic option” for many.

She said: “[It will soon be a] realistic option for many of us to get around.

“Where mobility hubs become a familiar part of our street architecture, and where all these options will be available to book and pay for at the touch of a smartphone.

“The challenge is to move further and faster to make shared mobility less of a novelty and increasing the norm to make it as easy, as convenient and as accessible as possible.”

She added: “I think the benefits are really significant.

“From clean air to healthier populations to greater connectivity for more people, no matter where they live.”

The Government has repeatedly stressed the need to switch from a reliance on cars to other forms of transport.

Back in March, transport secretary Grant Shapps said public transport would soon become the “natural first choice” instead of vehicles.

He said: “Public transport and active travel will be the natural first choice for our daily activities.

“We will use our cars less and be able to rely on a convenient, cost-effective and coherent public transport network.”

The Government’s Transport Decarbonisation Plan claimed journeys below five miles represented 58 per cent of all private car journeys in 2019.

They said this was one of the “biggest opportunities” to switch short car journeys to cycling and walking.

The Transport Decarbonisation Plan also called for the development of more shared mobility schemes.

They said schemes like this would “offer an alternative to traditional mass transit”.

Schemes which could be introduced in time include more “car club” programmes.

These allow drivers access to cars for a short-term rental often by the hour.

Peer to peer sharing is also an option, where privately owned vehicles can be rented out to drivers on a short-term basis.

Richard Dilks, chief executive of Collaborative Mobility UK said: “Shared transport is the key to a more sustainable future for the UK, enabling people to use transport without the need to own it – shifting to resources such as car clubs, bike share, shared rides and demand responsive transport – with a lower impact on the environment and transport infrastructure.

“By encouraging people to use public and active travel modes more, governments can help reduce the demand for privately owned cars and achieve the country’s net zero strategy.”

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